BosNewsLife News Center

Christians form a tiny minority in Turkey.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY (BosNewsLife)– Christian workers in southern Turkey faced a tense day Friday, February 20, after their bookshop was vandalized for the second time in a week by suspected Muslim militants, Christians said.

The Soz Kitapevi bookshop of the Turkish Bible Society in the city of Adana was reportedly vandalized for the second time in a week, after threats from Muslim nationalists.

Security camera footage showed two youths attacking the storefront of the shop Thursday,
February 12, kicking and smashing glass in both the window and the door, reported Christian news agency Compass Direct News. The door frame was also damaged.

“They came at it like a target,” Bookshop employee Dogan Simsek was quoted as saying. “They attacked in a very cold-blooded manner, and then they walked away as if nothing had happened.”

The security camera apparently did not clearly capture the faces of either youth, and police were reportedly still attempting to identify the perpetrators. During the first attack on February 7, the glass of the front door was smashed and the security camera mangled. Both have since been repaired.

In published remarks, Simsek said attacks came after the bookshop received threats from Muslim “hardliners and nationalists”. Last November, a man apparently entered the shop accussing the store of having ties with the United States Central Intelligency Agency.”You work with them killing people in Muslim countries, harming Muslim countries,” the man was quoted as saying.

The latest tensions underscored concerns among rights groups about Muslim extremism in Turkey, where especially the tiny Christian minority have been targeted. Earlier this month a Turkish court charged two more men in the murder of three Christians who worked at an evangelical publishing house.

An ex-journalist suspected of ties to a group that tried to engineer a political coup, Varol Bulent Aral, 32, was arrested February 4 on suspicion of instigating the murder.

Huseyin Yelki, 34, a Turk who has worked for Christian organizations, was arrested five days later after suspected ringleader Emre Gunaydin implicated him for instigation of murder.

Yelki is a former volunteer worker at Zirve Publishing Company in Malatya, Turkey- the site of the April 18, 2007, torture-murder of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske.


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